High winds prevented any action form the official KRT pairing on day one but they made the most of their window of opportunity today to finalise their personal choices of machine set-up - and compare the most recent data collected at their previous test at Jerez de la Frontera last week.
The team staff used the first day at Motorland to build the final spec of 2016 WorldSBK racing machinery; using materials freshly arrived from KHI in Japan. Tom and Jonathan started on track at midday on day two once track conditions were more favourable.
Sykes was pleased to be at the same best pace he recorded in the 2015 race weekend, after finding improvements from the recent Jerez test sessions. Despite a bout of illness, reigning champion Rea was still on strong form as he finalised settings to his engine’s overall character and fine-tuned his suspension.
Other Kawasaki teams were also present at Motorland, with optimism high for all at the prospects for not only the WorldSBK riders, but also the STK1000 competitors, who will be running the new Ninja ZX-10R machine close to standard specification.
The European winter test schedule is now complete but there will be an official two-day test for all WorldSBK runners prior to the opening race weekend of the year in Australia. The first day of testing will be Monday 22 February, at the stunning Phillip Island circuit.
Tom Sykes: “We had a good test, short but very productive. I am happy to have finished the European winter testing on a great level and we are working really nicely. I have been speaking with some of the other Kawasaki riders and they are really happy on the new bike, saying that it is very easy to ride. We focused on some fundamental things and not on performance, which was good. It worked out to be quite productive at the end. We had to do a couple of things for Pirelli, for their information, and I am really happy how things went.”
Jonathan Rea: “Today we tried out different spec front forks and rear shocks and we changed the engine character a little bit. The information we gained we can look at over the next week to make sure we arrive at Phillip Island in good shape. We will have two good days on track in Phillip Island, which gives us more time before the races start. I am excited to go there because I have good memories from last year - but it also feels like home. I am just looking forward to putting everything together and having a proper race weekend. That is what we are all working toward so it is an exciting time right now.”
Rea kicks off the bid to defend his title at the end of the month, scene of his first victory last year, when the first of the new era of WorldSBK weekends gets underway in Victoria, south of Melbourne.